Friday, December 18, 2009
Two CCHS Warrant Articles readied
Expect to see a few Warrant Articles relating to the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) at the Spring Town Meeting. One Warrant Article will allow for the creation of a fund to support technology at the `high school, while the other will ask for funds to move from the facilities master plan currently underway to a feasibility study and schematic design in conjunction with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).
“Technology has changed dramatically in the last few years, ” Deputy Superintendent John Flaherty explained. To avoid spikes in spending to replace and augment technology, he suggested creating a new stabilization fund. Town Meetings would have to approve both the money that goes in and the money that comes out of such a fund.
The draft Warrant reads: “The Town will vote to authorize the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District (CCRSD) treasurer to establish a Stabilization Fund…..for the purpose of reserving funds to lower future tax levy impacts of operating budgets for CCRSD technology equipment replacements and networking service upgrades.” The fund should retain its own interest and would begin with an initial appropriation of $5,800 to “be appropriated from the available year-end balance of June 30, 2009 and transferred into said Stabilization Fund effective July 1, 2010.”
Superintendent Diana Rigby has had two conversations with the MSBA this month. Flaherty said, “The MSBA seems very eager to work with us over the next few weeks. The MSBA said we’re on a good path. We have a master plan already going on.” He said not many other districts are this far along. The MSBA will look at the scope of the work done in the master plan and see what work needs to be done to complete a feasibility plan.
Draft wording of the Warrant Article was specified by the MSBA. It reads: “To determine if the Town will vote to appropriate, borrow or transfer from available funds, a sum of money to be expended under the direction of the School Building Committee for CCHS Feasibility Study & Schematic Design, for which feasibility study the RSD may be eligible for a grant from the MSBA.” The article also spells out that Carlisle and Concord are responsible for any costs incurred in connection with the feasibility study in excess of any grant approved by and received from the MSBA.
Regional School Committee (RSC) member Peter Fischelis wants the process to be clear to voters. Last year, the two towns voted $250,000 for a master plan study. This article will build on that effort, taking it to the next phase, that of schematic design. RSC member Jerry Wedge added that the feasibility study will provide pricing for the building project, but the schematics will not be at the level a contractor can build to. The committee was pleased that voters had approved the master plan study, as they felt it has helped get the attention of the MSBA.
The RSC and Master Plan Committee hope to enter a specific amount for the cost in the Warrant Article, but Concord’s Warrant Articles have to be in by January 4, 2010 and the schematic design costs will not be known until after the master plan is finished in March. The RSC and the Master Plan Committee hope to work out this problem and be allowed to enter an amount for the Article at a later date. Passage of the Warrant Articles requires approval from both towns. ∆
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